TUFS, Episode #11: The Odd Couple

By Craig Byrne (CragByrne@aol.com) and Alison Ward

Summary: In another effort to destroy Utopia, Tempus travels back in time and teams up with Lex Luthor. Before Clark even steps off the bus in Metropolis, Luthor and Tempus begin to manipulate events to keep Lois and Clark from ever meeting. What will Metropolis be like when "Lane and Kent" never team up? (Episode # 11 of The Unaired Fifth Season)


It was dark out, and a man walked slowly in the pouring rain. He didn't look sad, lost, or even lonely. He seemed to be determined, but to do what? No one who looked out at the otherwise empty street seemed to know. He rounded the corner, quickly ran up a few steps and knocked on the front door of one of the many brownstones on the street.

Lois Lane opened the front door, and she looked up at the almost unrecognizable figure standing in the doorway.

"Clark? You're all wet! Come here."

"I'm fine. I just needed to walk around for awhile."

"It was the plane crash, wasn't it?" He looked up at her to see a touch of an understanding smile on her face, and a caring look in her eyes.

"Yeah. There were a few people I couldn't save." She walked over, and ignoring the fact that he was soaking wet, hugged him. He lightly kissed her forehead and started toward the fireplace. He noticed a scrapbook on the couch. "Is this the scrapbook you made of Superman's articles?" he asked, knowing full well that it wasn't.

Lois looked up. "How did you know — ?" She couldn't remember ever showing Clark her scrapbook of Superman pictures and sightings.

Clark chuckled. "I've known for a long time about that. I know this is just pictures. But what's it doing out?"

Lois grinned. "Oh, I looking for that good silverware Uncle Mike gave us and I found that. I was just browsing through it. You know, it's been about five years since you started at the Daily Planet."

"Five years since I was lucky enough to meet you," Clark added. "Only then, you didn't think you were so lucky."

"Yeah, well, what can I say?" Lois said, slightly embarrassed as she remembered her antics of the period. "Some things just take time!"

Clark smiled as he flipped through the book. "Wow, who took all these pictures? I don't remember ever seeing some of them."

"Actually, Jimmy took most of them. I swear he was following us around or something taking these pictures… that is, when he wasn't forced to fix Perry's fish or clean out the closets!" Both Lois and Clark laughed. "Look at this outfit!" Clark grinned, opening up to a picture of Lois in a chicken outfit she wore undercover.

"Yeah, well, I, ahh,,, why *did* you throw me in that dumpster anyway?" Lois asked accusingly.

"Well you know, for a hack from Nowheresville,,,"

"You heard that?!"

"Of course I did. I hear everything." Clark smiled. His expression changed to thoughtful, and he said, "I still can't believe how much you couldn't stand me. There were a few times there when I thought you'd rather hang around Cat than deal with me! Face it, Lois, you were downright *mean*!"

"I wasn't mean, exactly," Lois interjected. Then she thought about it and conceded, "Okay, maybe I was. It was just, well, the way I handled people, I guess. I didn't want anyone to get too close. And I'm sorry for the way I treated you. There. Happy?" Lois said, looking up pitifully.

"Well whatever you said, even that didn't stop me from falling in love with you." He sat down next to her on the couch and kissed her gently. He instinctively placed a hand on Lois's abdomen, where their child was growing. When they broke from their kiss, Lois turned to a page with a picture of Perry and Jimmy.

"I guess we need to tell them the good news," Lois said, reaching for the phone.

"How about tomorrow at work?" Clark put out a hand to stop her.

"Why tomorrow?"

"Well, I had something important I thought we could do tonight. Meet you in the bedroom?" Clark said with a sly grin.

"I'll beat you there. And this time, *no* powers!" Lois teased. "I don't know what I'd do without you." Lois lowered her voice. "You really thought I was mean? …"


In 1993, the hint of an electrical storm over Metropolis temporarily highlighted the penthouse of Lexcorp Towers.

The penthouse belonged to Lex Luthor, one of the richest men alive. Lex could control Metropolis on a whim; Superman had not yet arrived in Metropolis to get in his way. At that moment Lex discussed plans to sabotage a shuttle to the space station Prometheus with his butler Nigel.

"We stop the final modules and the colonists from reaching the space station, Prometheus will fall out of orbit, and Space Station Luthor will be a reality," Luthor proclaimed. "And with it, Lex Luthor will become a savior. Not to mention the power that would come with such 'goodness.'"

"I spoke with Dr. Baines and all seems to go as planned," Nigel informed his employer. "We stop the Messenger on Friday morning, and then the great finale — the end of the shuttle full of colonists!"

Luthor puffed on a cigar thoughtfully as thunder clapped outside. "Nigel, I feel at times we are at the top of the world. Nothing can get in the way of this plan!"

Suddenly a square shape appeared out of nowhere in the middle of Luthor's penthouse. Lex and Nigel watched as legs appeared, followed by arms and then the rest of a body. A face was revealed.

The time-traveler known as Tempus smirked at Lex and Nigel. "Not even a guy in a pair of tights and a cape?"



Episode #11


Written By Craig Byrne and Allison Word

Scenes From "The Pilot" Written By Deborah Joy LeVine


"Nigel, call security!" Lex commanded. Whoever this man was wasn't going to get very far. Within seconds five armed men burst into the room.

The first one tried to tackle the intruder when he swung around and kicked him in a sensitive place. "Thank goodness for Mortal Kombat," Tempus said, looking down at the fallen guard. "I swear, one of those great inventions of the 1990s…"

"Shoot him!" Lex demanded. One guard set aim when Tempus ran toward him and threw him into his time window. "Toodles," Tempus said, waving as the guard was thrown to his doom.

Tempus turned around and noticed that there were three more armed security guards, including one holding a gun to his back. He turned around and hit the one behind him in the face, knocking him out. He ran toward the other two and knocked their heads together.

Lex picked up the gun of one of the unconscious guards and pointed it at Tempus. "Excellent hand-to-hand work," Lex said. "Now would you like to explain what you are doing here, or will I have to make a mess of this Persian rug?"

"As much as I adore violence," Tempus retorted, "that's not what I am here for. I am here to make a proposition."

"Talk." Lex snickered. "Not good enough. Tell me first, who are you?"

"My name is John Doe… I'm a darn nice guy. Can't you tell?" Tempus joked. "All kidding aside, my name is Tempus. I come from the future."

"Sure you are. Nigel, call more guards, get this man out of here or we'll have a body to dispose of tonight."

"Yes, sir," Nigel said.

"Oh, look, it's Alfred the butler. Hi, Alfred!" Tempus chided.

Lex pointed the gun at Tempus again.

"Hey, hey, hey, calm down, Luthor. I'm telling the truth; how else would I know that in one week you will attempt to sabotage the colonist shuttle for space station Prometheus, securing the space program for yourself? Gee, Lex, I didn't know you were so skeptical!"

Lex fumbled, but at the same time, he kept his composure. If anything, he was intrigued. "Go on."

"You don't believe me. I know. But, oh yes, you will. You know what happens if I don't warn you about this?"


"Your plan will fail. So, we need to take some precautions. I can tell you what'll happen if we don't take them. A steadfast reporter named Lois Lane will get her nosy self onto the shuttle and try to go up with it for a story. A man with powers far beyond those of mortal men will come to her rescue, of course, and then he'll eat the bomb. The crowd goes wild. The reporter tells everyone, 'It was a bomb — he — he *ate* it!' Everyone will cheer this Superman, and good old Lois will become his drooling cheerleader for about a year. I don't know about you, but I swear I've seen this one on cable at least three times, and I *don't* care to see it again."

Lex was still on guard. "And you're telling me this because…?"

"Lighten up, Luthor, and quit playing dumb. I've had enough of galactically stupid people to last a lifetime. There's a great reason for it — world domination, Pinky! You know you want it. I want it, and together, we can have it! You do *not* want to see how boring the future will be if we don't do anything."

"There are two things I do not tolerate: failure and insanity," Lex informed the obviously insane man. "You are obviously the latter. Stop wasting my time. Leave now on your own, or be escorted out by security."

"Wait…" Tempus requested, raising his palm in protest. "Tomorrow at noon, meet me near the Daily Planet building on Metropolis Boulevard… I want to show you something to prove that I am not bogus."

Lex was intrigued but still skeptical. "Fair enough," Luthor said. "But heed my warning — any funny business and you'll wish you never came to Metropolis!"


In the days before she met Clark Kent, Lois Lane bounced from date to date, thanks to the persistent nagging of her younger sister Lucy. Every date seemed to be a disaster, and on this particular evening Lois had a date with her latest "boyfriend" Mitchell. Lois refused to use the term "boyfriend" and preferred to use "acquaintance."

On this evening, Mitchell was twenty minutes late picking up Lois.

"Lucy, I'm going to kill him!" Lois yelled. She was rushing around the apartment, pulling rollers out of her hair and putting shoes on her feet. "Do I have to go?"

"Yes," Lucy told her. She was sitting on the couch, calmly reading a magazine. "Come on, sis; he's not that bad…"

"Maybe not, but I should be *working* tonight! I'm supposed to get the final information about that car theft ring, you know, the thing Bobby tipped me on to?"

"Oh, that," Lucy dismissed. "You know Lois, one of these days you're going to get yourself killed if you're not careful. Why don't you take a night off? Relax for a change?" Lucy asked.

"I'm Lois Lane. In my business there is no such thing as relaxation. Talk to me *after* I get my Pulitzer; then I might take some time off." Lois looked out the window to see a 1992 Acura driving up. "Mitchell's here. Talk to you later, Luce."


Lois walked down the steps toward Mitchell's car. "It's about time!" she said, getting in and slamming the door closed.

"Yeah, well…" Mitchell was about 30 years old, with slightly balding blond hair and glasses. He also had a tendency to exaggerate his problems. "On my way out I hit my foot on the door," he told Lois. "I thought I broke it!"

Lois rolled her eyes. "Perfect, to go with your broken arm last week…" Lois said under her breath.

"Hey, it *was* sprained!" Mitchell insisted.

Lois rolled her eyes again but stayed silent. They rode to the movie theater on Jurgens Avenue and entered.


Several thousand miles away in the Kansas town of Smallville, Clark Kent cleared the dishes from the dinner table. He couldn't help but start to miss the farmhouse and Smallville already. He knew that going to Metropolis was better for him and probably the right thing to do, but he still was sorry he had to leave. Even after traveling the world, Smallville was the only place he'd ever considered home.

Martha Kent noticed the sad look in her son's eyes. "Honey, you're doing the right thing. And, you know that if you don't like it in Metropolis, there's always a place for you here." Clark turned to face his parents and hugged his mom.

"Thanks, Mom. I want to go and everything…" He paused to look around the room. "I'm just going to miss this place."

"Well, son, you can come home for a visit whenever you want," Jonathan laughed, and Clark nodded, remaining serious.

"I know, Dad."

"Well, Clark, you better get your stuff together," Martha said, changing the subject. "You don't want to miss the bus, do you?"

"No, I don't. Somehow I think flying into town without an actual plane might not be the best idea for me." They all laughed, and after the dishes were done, Clark walked upstairs to his bedroom and grabbed his battered suitcase.

He heard the phone ring, but he paid no attention to it; Clark just wanted to look at everything one last time. He went to the window and looked up at the star-lit Smallville sky thoughtfully.

"Clark? The phone's for you," Martha called to her son. He turned around, grabbed his things, and ran downstairs to answer the phone.


"Hi, Clark," said the female voice on the other end.

"Hi, Lana."

"I just called to say goodbye," Lana said quietly. "I'm sorry I couldn't make it tonight. I feel like I should be there, after all that we've been through together. I mean, we did grow up together."

"Yeah, we had some good times. I'll be back to visit every so often, and don't worry about not being able to make it. I understand."

"Okay, thanks. We'll miss you around here, Clark."

"I'm gonna miss it around here, too. Bye, Lana."

"Bye, Clark." They hung up, and Martha, Jonathan, and Clark made the short drive to the bus station. They got out and waited for the bus. No one said much.

"Dad, if you need my help around here, don't hesitate to — "

"Clark, we'll manage just fine," Jonathan assured his son. "Don't worry about us. We've got a lot of people around here who'll help us out if we need it. If you need help, on the other hand…"

"I'll call when I get there," Clark promised. The three looked over at the arriving bus as its brakes hissed. "I guess this is it," Clark said with an uneasy sigh.

"We'll miss you, Clark," Martha Kent said, her eyes welling up.

"I'll miss you guys too, Mom." He hugged his parents and said, "You two are the greatest, most supportive parents a guy could ask for. Thanks for everything."

Martha laughed. "It sounds like you're going to be gone for years!" Jonathan and Clark nervously laughed too.

"Bye! I'll see you guys for dinner in a couple of days."

Martha and Jonathan waved at the bus, and stood, watching it until they could no longer see it. They hopped back in their truck and headed for home.


Several hours later, Lois stormed back into her apartment, locking the numerous locks behind her. The look on her face was definitely one that screamed "don't mess with me."

Lucy was sitting on the couch, watching a "Love Boat" rerun and filling out a crossword puzzle. "Gee, looks like you had a good time… you're home by eight! Didn't you just leave two hours ago?"

"*Not* funny, Lucy," Lois warned as she kicked off her shoes and threw her dress on her bed. "You know what movie he made me go see?"

"Which one?" Lucy prompted, her eyes not leaving the television.

"Lassie! I am *not* kidding… I guess it could have been worse, but whatever happened to guys taking their dates to *romantic* movies? Even *Cat Grant* rates a 'Sleepless in Seattle' every once in a while…" Lucy heard Lois going through her closet for something to wear.

"That's not all, is it, Lois?" Lucy said, prepared for the onslaught of babbling.

"You're right — it wasn't! Once we got there, Mitchell noticed a breeze. The next thing I knew, he wanted to go home because he thought he had pneumonia!"

"Ouch." It was a commercial, and Lucy went back to finishing the crossword puzzle.

"Well, enough about my dates… I've got something to do tonight anyway. I'll be back pretty late, Luce. Don't wait up," she said. "Read all about it tomorrow morning."

In the corner of Lucy's eye she could have sworn that Lois was dressed strangely. She turned around as the door closed behind her sister. She hesitated, then said to herself, "Nah…"

Lois exited the building and hailed a taxi. "Hobbs Bay Docks," she said breathlessly.

"Yes, sir," the driver replied.


The next morning at the Daily Planet, the largest newspaper in America, a few employees arrived early. One of them was a young man with a moustache and beard, wearing baggy jeans, a denim jacket, a cap pulled low over his eyes, and a tool belt around his waist.

The young man got off the elevator into the newsroom. He sat down at a desk and sighed. He pulled off his jacket, put both hands on his chest, feeling a tightness, and then looked around for a pair of scissors. He lifted up the shirt just enough to reveal the bottom of an Ace bandage and started to cut. He finally unraveled the bandage and pulled it through the sleeve of the T- shirt.

Finally, the man removed his cap, revealing long, curly hair that fell to his shoulders. *Her* shoulders.

Jimmy Olsen walked up from behind. He moved to the front of the desk and stared at Lois, who was still sporting the mustache and beard. "Mmm… I like the beard," he told her. "But the mustache isn't working for me." Lois remembered and touched her face. "Want me to do it?" Jimmy asked her.

Lois nodded and Jimmy sat on the edge of her desk, taking the corner of the mustache and ripping it off. She squealed, but when she picked her head up her beautiful face is revealed.

"I nailed 'em cold!" Lois told Jimmy excitedly, handing him a tape-recorder, where the entire scoop was recorded only hours earlier.


Someone held up the latest edition of the Daily Planet, which bore the headline, "Million Dollar Car Theft Ring Exposed." The byline read "Lois Lane."

Jimmy was one of the first to congratulate Lois on her feat. "I still can't believe they thought you were a boy."

"Well, the mustache helped," Lois told him. "And thanks for teaching me how to boost a car."

"No problemo," Jimmy said, raising his mug. "To Lois Lane… still going where no reporter has gone before!"

Perry White approached. "Don't encourage her, Jimmy. Her head's as big as the Metrodome as it is!"

"It's nice to know I'm appreciated around here, Chief," Lois said smugly.

"Oh, well what do you expect? Garlands strewn at your feet?"

"No, but I'd like a raise," Lois told her boss boldly.

Perry responded quickly. "Well *I'd* like a 145-foot triple masted schooner with a teak interior but hey, Lois…" Perry pulled his pants pockets out. "Times are tough."

Perry looked around to see that all eyes were on him. "Okay, what's everybody standing around for? This is a newspaper, not happy hour at Buckingham Palace!"

Perry continued toward his office, not realizing that Jimmy was close behind.

"Chief? I've got an angle on the mini-mall murders.," Jimmy began, trying to get his attention. "I figure there was blood on the burritos because…"

"Did you finish those obituary updates?" Perry broke in, obviously not listening. Jimmy's face fell. "Never underestimate the need for a good obituary," Perry assured before walking away.

"I can think of one right now,,," Jimmy muttered to himself. He walked over to Lois's desk, noticing a note that was sitting on there. He picked up the note and read it. "Whoa, I guess you finally hit the big time!"

"Huh?" Lois asked.

"This time Lex Luthor's *personal* assistant returned your call!"

"Give me that!" Lois exclaimed, taking the note out of his hand.

"Give it up. Luthor never gives one-on-one interviews," Jimmy said.

"Well, he's never met Lois Lane before either," she reminded him.


Outside the Planet, a limo was parked wherein Lex Luthor waited. Lex spotted Tempus standing at the side of the road. Nigel rolled down the window, signaling Tempus to come his way.

Nigel opened the door for Tempus to enter the back seat with Lex. "Thanks, Higgins," Tempus said.

"Nigel," the British man corrected.

"Whatever," Tempus said sarcastically, before he turned to Lex. "You showed up."

"Why are you surprised? If you are from the future as you claim, you should have known I would. Just mark my words: If this is a setup, my associates will downsize you."

"No need. You must remember that the reason I'm here is to *change* the future."


"Yes, change. The place I come from is such a drag. It's Utopia! It's disgusting, in Technicolor! No violence, no sex… no FUN! Hell, it's like a 24-hour marathon of 'Full House' — seven days a week! It's 365 days a year when the biggest tragedy is 'A Very Special Blossom'… the greatest villain in the future is 'Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!' Luthor, it's worse than a Disney cartoon! Who wants to see 'happily ever after'? I've been there, and it is *such* a drag! Now we've got to prevent this. See that man getting out of that bus, right down the street?"

Tempus pointed to Clark, deboarding a Smallville bus.

"Yes…?" Lex asked impatiently.

"Well… keep watching."

Clark stood on the side of the street, looking around at the big city. Metropolis was quite a sight for Clark, unlike anything he had ever seen before. Clark was walking toward the Planet when a bus began speeding down Metropolis Boulevard, unable to stop at the traffic light… a bus that was about to run into a group of pedestrians crossing the street.

Tempus and Lex watch as the man, Clark, looked both ways to make sure no one was looking, unaware of the men in the limo. Clark then runs out into the street and stops the bus with his bare hand.

An older black woman stood in the middle of the road, pointing. "He — he — !" She was the only one who saw him… other than Lex and Tempus.

"This is insanity; that has to be a trick!" Lex exclaimed, not believing his eyes.

"No — it's Superman," Tempus said, knowing he had Luthor's attention now, if he hadn't before. "Come, let's go to your office and work out the deal."


Several minutes later, Lex and Tempus were sitting in Luthor's office at Lexcorp. "Even though I've *seen* this 'Superman,' I'm still not exactly sure what it is you intend to do for me," Lex said as he paced. "I don't see why I need you as much as you claim I do."

"Lex, if I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times! You're a failure! A loser! Your plan doesn't make it to par. Game over, do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars! You need me to win." Lex tried not to look shaken, which was how he felt; after all, no one called Lex Luthor a failure and got away with it.

"Okay, my whole plan fails, and the only way it will work is with your help. So, if you're so smart, what's *your* plan?" Lex challenged.

Tempus laughed, and sat down on a couch. "Yes, I do have a plan. You covertly own part of the Metropolis Star. How about the stock you own? 40 percent… but you can control that stock if you buy a little more, which wouldn't be a problem since I can give you tomorrow's numbers…" Tempus watched Lex shake his head in disbelief.

"How do you know all this? And what does the Star have to do with it?"

"I'm from the future. I know everything about you. Most kids had Superman as their hero. You, Lex, were mine. See, here's the biography of Superman," Tempus said, holding up a book. "Published 2046. How *else* do you think I'd know what would happen, *before* it happens?"

"Give me that!" Lex tried to grab the book.

"Ah-ah-ah." Tempus said, holding it out of Lex' reach. "Now, back to the Star. You cannot let Clark Kent and Lois Lane meet, become partners, or even like each other. It can't happen, because if they start working together, our plans will be ruined." Tempus paused.

"I'm listening; go on." Lex was irritable. He was not willing to consider any propositions Tempus had.

"Well, you see, if you let me sort of, behind-the-scenes, *run* the Star, I could hire Clark Kent, and that takes care of that problem. Not to mention, it would give me something to do. I thought this time period would be much more interesting than it's turned out to be."

"I'm sorry we're boring you. You are free to leave," Lex said offhandedly, pointing to the door.

"Why is it you want to get rid of me?"

"Shall I count the reasons, or shall we just talk about your way of controlling the Star?" Lex said impatiently. If Tempus could get the next day's numbers there was no financial risk in taking over the Star and thus, Lex could just sit back and watch whatever this time-traveler had in store.

"Good. I always knew you were more reasonable than everyone said."

"Don't be too sure, Tempus."

"Right now, I'll need to control a portion of the Star, so that I can hire Kent and watch him. For starters, I've already said he isn't from this planet, and you've clearly seen what he can do. So, you must understand that he is trouble."

"Why must I understand that? I'm still not sure I believe in superheroes…" Lex trailed off.

"Yet you're still listening to me," Tempus observed.

"You have a few irresistible offers."

"Glad to hear it. Now, you don't actually mind handing over some of the ownership to me, right?" Tempus inquired.

"If I have to do it, I'm sure we can come to some agreement," Lex countered.

Lex and Tempus came to an agreement, with Tempus running the Star under Lex's firm hand. Tempus would be allowed some flexibility when dealing with Clark Kent, but not much else. When the deal was made, Tempus began to stare at Lex.

"What?" Lex exclaimed, annoyed.

"Do yourself a favor, Lex," Tempus said arrogantly. "*Don't* shave your head. It doesn't become you. It didn't work for Hackman and it won't work for you either." And with that, Tempus hopped into a time window and disappeared, leaving a bewildered Lex Luthor alone in his office.


In Perry White's office at the Daily Planet, Clark Kent arrived punctually for his interview. Perry sat down behind his desk and began, "So, Mr,,,"

"Kent. Clark Kent."

"Yes. Kent." Perry browsed through Clark's resume. "Professor Carlton called me about you. Haven't seen him in… let's see… editor of the Smallville Press… that's…"

"Kansas," Clark finished.

Perry's intercom buzzed. After a few seconds Perry began screaming into the receiver. "Well, tell him to keep his pants on! If Carlini's can't deliver on time, find a place that can!" Perry slammed the phone back on its cradle and turned back to Clark. "Can you believe I bought a blood pressure monitor last week?"

"Paava leaves," Clark said out of the blue.

"Excuse me?"

"The Yolongu tribe in New Guinea eat paava leaves to relieve stress,,, it puts them in a meditative state. Maybe you should try it."

"Well, I see you've done some travelling," Perry observed.

Clark told Perry about some of his international experiences.

"A citizen of the world," Perry said.

"Not really. It's my first time in Metropolis," Clark admitted. Clark handed Perry his portfolio. "I brought some samples of my work."

Perry gave Clark a funny look but accepted the samples. He flipped through some of the articles. "The Borneo Gazette? 'Mating rituals of the knob- tailed gecko?' Kent, I'm sure these are fascinating stories, but this is the Daily Planet. We're the greatest newspaper in the world! Our people are dedicated servants of the fourth estate who routinely handle matters of international significance."

The door opened and in came Jimmy, tossing some keys onto Perry's desk. "Okay, Chief, I fixed the horn on your golf cart."

"Not now, Jimmy," Perry told him.

Jimmy continued, ignoring the fact that Perry is meeting with someone. "The tone's still off, but…"

Perry raised his voice to get his point across. "*Not now*, Jimmy!" Realizing defeat, Jimmy left the office.

Perry resumed talking to Clark. "As I was saying, I just don't think that…"

Another person burst into the office. This time it was Lois. "Chief, I think there's a lead here and we should check this guy out. The crazy one this morning? His name is Samuel Platt and he was an engineer at EPRAD for ten years. He's…"

"Can't you see I'm in the middle of something here?" Perry asked Lois impatiently.

"Oh," she replied, still standing there.

"Lois Lane, Clark Kent."

Lois barely nodded in Clark's direction and threw a "nice to meet you" at the man before continuing her tirade. "Anyway, this guy worked on the Messenger, he…"

"Lois, what happened to that mood piece I gave you? The razing of that old theater on Forty-Second?"

"I wasn't in the mood."

Clark chuckled to himself at her witty comeback.

"Now listen here, Lois, I…" Perry started, but Jimmy knocked at the window to get Lois's attention.

Lois looked up. "Gotta run. Catch you later, Chief."

Lois made her quick departure, and Perry shook his head. "If that woman wasn't the best damn investigative reporter I've ever seen, I'd …" He remembered his interview. "Look, Kent, you seem like an intelligent guy, but you can't just walk in here with this kind of resume and expect a job."

Clark saw his chance slipping away. "Mr. White, I know I lack experience but I'm a hard worker and a good writer," he appealed.

"Kent, I haven't got anything for you, son."

Clark frowned but held back. "Thank you, sir. I appreciate your taking the time to see me." Clark shook the editor's hand. As he left, the look on Perry's face made it clear how tight Clark's grip was.


Outside Perry's office, Lois picked up the receiver to her telephone. "Daily Planet, Lois Lane."

"Ms. Lane? This is Lex Luthor." She suppressed a gasp.

"Oh, uh… oh my god… uh…" Lois scrambled for a pen and paper. Jimmy, standing next to her, handed her some quickly. "Thanks," she mouthed.

Lois regained her composure. "Hello, Mr. Luthor, thank you for returning my call."

"It's my pleasure, Ms. Lane. I have a favor to ask you."

*Uh-oh*, Lois thought to herself. *He's going to ask me to quit asking for interviews. Ha! Like that'll happen…*

"Anything!" Lois said, speaking the opposite of what her mind was screaming. She wondered why that word chose to weasle its way out of her mouth.

"Well, my people tell me that you wanted an interview. Well, I'm free for a bit this afternoon, if you wouldn't mind making the trip to Lexcorp for it."

"I, uh… no, no, I wouldn't mind at all. I'm on my way! What time?"

"I'm free in twenty minutes, if that meets your schedule."

"Twenty minutes? Schedule? Of *course* it meets my schedule!" Lois babbled excitedly. "Thank you, Mr. Luthor. You have no idea how much this means to me."

"You're very welcome, Ms. Lane."

Lois hung up, grabbed her purse and belongings, and ran to the elevators. "Jimmy, I'll be back! Something big!" she said, waving goodbye.

"Smooth," Jimmy said to himself with a smile.

Lois ran out to hail a cab, but the first one ignored her. Angry and in her "Mad Dog" state, Lois ran out into the middle of the road in front of the next taxi. This one wasn't going to get away. She got in quickly and handed the taxi driver some money. "Lexcorp building, and step on it!"


The taxi hurried to the towering Lexcorp building, a building which, at 100 stories, was the tallest building in Metropolis. Lois scurried to the front desk.

"Hi, Lois Lane, Daily Planet. I'm here to see Lex Luthor," Lois told the receptionist.

"Right," the receptionist said sarcastically. "Luthor never talks to reporters."

"Now listen!" Lois seethed, slamming her hand on the desk. "Lex Luthor *just* called me!"

"Must I call security?" asked the woman.

Tempus, dressed in a business suit, walked up from behind. "No need," he told the receptionist.

"Oh, Mr. Turner…" the receptionist said, recognizing the man who had been doing business with Luthor lately.

"Lois Lane, I presume?" Tempus said to Lois, extending his hand. "My name is George Turner. I'm a… friend of Mr. Luthor's. Come with me."

"George Turner" was a pseudonym Tempus had come up with to use in this time period. He got the name from a comic book character he once read.

Lois and Tempus walked past the three main elevators and through a door that revealed another elevator. Tempus punched in a security code and the two of them were on their way up to Lex's office.

They got off the elevator and walked through a labyrinth of hallways. They passed Nigel, who was feeding Luthor's exotic pets, and they passed Lex's meal staff who were preparing Lex's lunch.

"You know, Lois, I think I like you better with longer hair," Tempus said to her.


Tempus shrugged. "Private joke."

"Ummm… okay," Lois said, unsure of what to think of this man. "Do I know you?"

"Maybe, at some time or another, our paths have crossed," Tempus replied, grinning. They soon arrived at an office with a plate on the door reading "Lex Luthor."

Tempus knocked. Asabi appeared at the door, opening it.

"Thanks, Punjab," Tempus said good-heartedly. Asabi gave him a dirty look. Tempus and Lois entered the room.

"Ahh, Ms. Lane, come in," Lex said, sitting at his office and putting his hand out towards a seat that Lois can sit in. Lex then gave Tempus a look to get out. "Mr. Turner, didn't you say you had a business meeting?"

Tempus looked at his watch. "Yes… you're right." He made his exit quickly.

Lois sat down in an ornate chair, notepad already out. "Hello, Mr. Luthor."

"Please, call me Lex."

"Yes… right… Lex… You know, I really appreciate this. I know you're hesitant to give interviews."

"I hope you understand, a man in my position," Lex said. "I wouldn't want to be misinterpreted, and I have had one or two bad experiences with the media."

"But not with me!" Lois reminded, smiling coyly.

"Ms. Lane, I don't think there is such a thing as a bad experience with a woman with as much beauty and charm as you possess," Luthor said smoothly.

Lois blushed. "Well, I wanted to know if I could ask you a few questions about your charities, the possibilities of you entering politics, and things of that nature."

"Absolutely," Lex said. "But… I have to admit I do have an ulterior motive in calling you here. Would you like to accompany me to my Wild Orchid Ball on Wednesday night? Afterward, I can answer any questions you may have."

Lois sat in awe. One of the richest, most powerful men in Metropolis was asking *her* for a date. "Of course," Lois replied, flattered.

"Very well," Lex said with a smile. The phone rang. "Hello? Yes, of course Doctor… please hold."

Lois was in an eavesdropping state, but Lex broke any chances of being able to do it today. "I'm sorry, this is a very important call. Speak with you later?" Lex said.

"Sure," Lois replied. Asabi silently escorted her out.


Clark wandered the streets of Metropolis, unsure of what to do. Clark thought about the mood piece article Perry White had asked Lois Lane to do — maybe, if Clark could find something out, White would change his mind. With that in mind, Clark headed toward 42nd Street and the old theater.

Compared to most Metropolis streets, the street Clark was on remained relatively quiet. Clark saw a small rock on the sidewalk and kicked it gently, sending it rolling further down the street. Suddenly, Clark heard a voice behind him. "Clark Kent?"

Clark turned around to face the man.

"Yes?" Clark wondered who the man was and how he knew his name.

"Hi, my name is Turner, George Turner," the man said, holding his hand out to shake Clark's. "I've recently been named associate publisher of the Metropolis Star."

"Oh. Well, congratulations." Clark turned to continue walking, but Turner spoke again.

"A little bird told me that you interviewed for a job at the Daily Planet and were turned down. I was hoping you might consider a job at the Star instead. We could use someone with your talent and worldly experience." Tempus smiled and watched Clark carefully for a reaction.

"Really?" Clark asked, almost skeptical. "What's the catch?"

"None at all."

"Well…" Clark said carefully. This was almost too good to be true. "I'll get some samples together, and I'll be over… uh, when?"

"No need for samples. I've already been well informed of your work. Drop in tomorrow morning, ten-ish. But first… want to come with me to meet your new co-workers?"

Clark was surprised at his sudden luck. "Sure!" he said. *I think I might like Metropolis after all,* he thought. Clark and Turner walked together toward the Metropolis Star offices ten blocks away.

As Clark and Turner went on their way, Lois Lane walked by. Turner noticed Lois before she noticed him.

Lois sensed someone watching her, and she turned to look at Turner. Lois recognized him, but she couldn't remember where she'd seen him. Shrugging, she ignored it and walked faster. The sooner she got this stupid mood piece over with, the sooner she could be back working on the Platt story.

Turner and Clark turned the corner, and the theater and Lois Lane were long forgotten as Clark began his new job at the Metropolis Star. He couldn't wait to tell his parents.


At the Daily Planet, Cat Grant hung up the phone with a delicious grin on her face. "Listen up, everyone!" she yelled. Everyone turned around. Perry especially had an annoyed look on his face, because *he* was the one who usually got everyone's attention.

"I just got off the phone with a friend of mine from Lexcorp," Cat said, "and you won't *believe* who Lex Luthor is taking to the Wild Orchid Ball with him!"

"I bet I know!" Jimmy said excitedly.

"Who?" Cat asked.

"Elle McPherson!" he guessed triumphantly.


"Pamela Anderson?"

"I heard Lex only goes with real goods. Think more unlikely."

"You?" Jimmy guessed weakly.

"Very funny, Olsen. Try Lois Lane!"

Most everyone in the room began to snicker. It wasn't that they didn't respect Lois, but in light of her bad luck with men and her constant persistence to even *interview* Luthor, it was kind of unbelievable.

"Wait…" Perry said, approaching. "Where did you hear this again?"

"I told you already, a friend at Lexcorp," Cat said mysteriously.

"Hot damn!" Perry exclaimed. "Cat, follow your lead… I wanna find out if this is true, that our Lois… wow."


Tempus and Clark arrived at the offices of the Metropolis Star. An older office than the Planet's and slightly less fancy, the Star employed several hundred Metropolitans.

The newsroom was all on one floor, with several offices with walls of glass. Reporters ran back and forth across the newsroom floor. "Come," Tempus said to Clark, leading him into an office. "Let me introduce you to who you'll be working with."

Another man followed them into the room. "Clark Kent, I'd like you to meet the editor of the Metropolis Star, Bud Burns. Bud Burns, I'd like you to meet Clark Kent… we talked about him earlier?" Tempus said, giving Bud a reminding grin.

"Oh, yes," Bud said, an unsuspecting pawn in Tempus's plans. Bud stuck his hand out. "Welcome to the Star, Mr. Kent. Let me show you around…" Bud and Clark walked out of the office and back into the newsroom.

"Hi, Mr. Burns," said a somewhat obese man as they passed.

"Who's he?" Clark asked, looking back.

"Dirk Armstrong. Writes the editorial columns. Don't get too close to him or he'll argue with ya. Stubborn old rassum-frassum…" Bud grumbled.

Bud took Clark to the hub of the newsroom. "Let me introduce you to your co- workers on the city beat," Bud said.

Bud first introduced Clark to a black man in his mid-30s. "This is Ron Troupe. Ron covers the in-town stuff, you know, Main Street, Metropolis Boulevard, those areas. Ron, meet Clark Kent. He'll be working with Angela."

"Pleased to meet you," Ron said, shaking Clark's hand heartily.

"Where *is* Angela, anyway?" Bud asked.

As if in response to his question, an Asian-American woman emerged from the elevator. "Sorry I'm late." The woman breathed heavily, as if she had been running. "I had an important lead to… hey, what's everyone standing around for?"

"Angela, meet Clark Kent," Bud said.

"Hi!" Angela said, smiling and shaking his hand. "Anyhow, you won't *believe* what happened this afternoon. They started razing the old theater on Forty- Second, and there was this old lady still in there! Luckily they got her out, but talk about luck… she could've died! She still had several abrasions and a few broken bones."

"I trust you got the story?" Bud asked.

"Of course! Who am I to let you down?" Angela said. "So, Clark Kent… what's your pleasure?"

"As I understand it, I'm…" Clark began.

"Your new partner," Bud finished. Angela gave Bud a dirty look. "Bud, can I talk to you for a minute?" Even though Bud was Angela's boss he followed her out of earshot from the new employee. Or so they thought.

"What do you mean, my partner?" Angela whispered vehemently. "I don't *need* a partner!"

"I know you don't, Angela, but this Kent guy might need some… I dunno, help…"

"You mean you hired some guy off the street?"

"Not exactly. It was an order from high up. Apparently they've heard of this guy, and they're impressed. Me, I'll believe it when I see it. Regardless, he might need some extra… encouragement if you know what I mean," Bud said.

Clark couldn't help but listen from across room. Even though he didn't quite understand why Bud spoke the way he did, he knew he had to prove himself. If anything, Clark always strived to be the best.

Angela and Bud walked back to join the others. "Clark Kent," Bud said, "meet Angela Chen. She'll be your partner for the first couple of weeks, till you get settled."

"Pleased to meet you," Clark said, smiling.


Lois got off the elevator and stepped into the newsroom. A hush fell over the room, and she just looked around with a puzzled expression.

Cat walked over with a smile and took her arm, and most of the other reporters and employees started working again.

Lois stared at Cat with surprise, but Cat continued to smile.

"So, you and Luthor, huh?" Cat finally said. "Wow! That's big, that's really big. I mean, you're going to the ball with the host! How'd you pull that one off?"

Lois suddenly realized why everyone had been staring. "Well, if you're thinking I bribed or hypnotized Lex, you're wrong," she retorted.

Cat raised her eyebrow. "Ooh, so it's just 'Lex' now?"

"Don't you have a job to do?" Lois asked rudely.

"Uh-huh, and I'm doing it." They stopped at Lois' desk. As Lois sat down, Jimmy ran over to pat her on the back.

"Hey, Lois, congrats on the date with Luthor!" he said as he walked toward the elevators with a camera in hand.

"Thanks, Jimmy …" Lois trailed off.

A few of the secretaries came over, babbling. "So, what's Lex Luthor really like?" "Is he as handsome and breath-taking as they say?" "Is it a real date, or just an interview?"

Cat, sensing Lois needed to breathe, persuaded everyone to leave Lois alone by politely pushing them away, assuring them quietly that she'd share any news. When they had slinked back rejectedly, she pulled up a chair and sat down next to Lois's desk.

"At least I'm a little courteous about it," Cat smirked.

"Thanks," Lois replied, shrugging it off.

"Sure thing. So, is this for real? I mean, Lois Lane is actually going on a date…with Lex Luthor?"

"I just want to interview him," Lois insisted.

"Sure, Lois." Cat got up to leave, and Lois didn't feel like arguing. Just then Perry came out of his office and walked over to her desk.

"I hear you're going to Luthor's Ball…as his date."

"Yes, Perry, I am. I'm trying to get an interview with him."

"Curry favor, huh?" Perry nodded approvingly. "Well, have a good time." He started to walk away, but then he remembered something. "How's the Platt story going?"

"Good." Lois looked around nervously. "I'm working on it, Chief. Don't worry."

Perry waved his hand as he walked back into his office, then turned around and said, "I'm not worried at all, Lois."

Just as Lois was turning back to work on the Platt story, someone yelled across the newsroom, "Hey, Lois! I heard about you and Luthor!" She rolled her eyes, and tried to ignore the comments that came her way.


Clark and Angela walked out of the large, crowded elevator and into Lex's ballroom. Clark handed their exquisite, colorful invitations to the man at the door, and they continued into the room, checking their coats after walking through another door.

Both looked around, taking in the beautifully, not to mention expensively, decorated room. Tuxedoed waiters were randomly scattered throughout the large room carrying trays with different dishes. The room was full of people, some mingling, some standing in groups, others dancing, all dressed lavishly in tuxedoes or ball gowns.

Tempus saw Angela and Clark walk in and waved them over as soon as they saw him.

"Glad to see you two made it!" he boomed. "Have a wonderful time. I might introduce you to some people later, so don't stray too far." Tempus saw Nigel signaling him from across the room, so he excused himself. "Talk to you soon."

"So…" Angela said, looking at Clark. "Guess we might as well have some fun. There's a lot I don't know about you… We should get to know each other. Would you like to dance?"

He smiled, then answered. "I'd love to."

Not far away, Lex had just left Lois, who didn't seem to mind his sudden need to go talk to someone else. She wanted to see Lex's adjoining penthouse, learn more about Metropolis's wealthiest man. As soon as he disappeared into the crowd, she stealthily walked the opposite direction toward a heavy oak door and pushed it open.

The room was full of antiques. It looked like a museum. Lois shut the door behind her and walked further into the room. As she stood looking at all of the different things in the room, the door opened. She turned to see who it was and saw Luthor's British butler. She couldn't remember his name.

"Excuse me. I was…looking for the restroom," Lois said, startled.

"It's not in here, Ms. Lane."

"No… well… I guess not." Lois shuffled a bit, still nervous. She walked toward the door and followed him back to the party. Nigel made a mental note to watch her.

"Hey, Lois!" someone called from behind.

"Jimmy!" Lois replied, sarcastically enthused.

"What are you up to?" Jimmy asked.

"Um… just, uh… looking around. Where's Perry?"

"He's around somewhere. I think he thought he saw Elvis or something." They laughed and watched the people for a minute. Lex approached and touched Lois' arm gently.

"May I have this dance?" he asked with a smile.

"Of course." The two glided onto the dance floor.

"Smooth, very smooth," Jimmy said to himself as he watched the couple get lost in the crowd of dancers.

When the song ended, Angela went to talk to an old friend, which left Clark standing by himself. He struck up a conversation with a young man about Lex and the woman on his arm.

"That's Lois Lane, from the Daily Planet, right?" Clark asked the young man.

"Yup, one of the best investigative reporters we've got."

"You work there, too?"

"Yeah, name's Olsen, Jimmy Olsen."

Clark turned and recognized the young man from the Daily Planet the day before. He then put out his hand to shake Jimmy's. "Clark Kent. Nice to meet you. What's she like?"

"Lois? Well, she's a piece of work,,, she's got a few Kerths, you know. One of these days, maybe I'll…" Jimmy babbled on, not realizing that Clark's attention had been diverted. Lex had just walked off the dance floor. Something looked suspicious.

"I'll be right back, Jimmy," Clark told him. Clark stood next to the door that separated the ballroom from wherever Lex was speaking.

"Wait! Clark! Did I ever tell you about the time on the Planet ski trip, when Lois broke her — "

It didn't do any good. Clark was gone. From the other side of the door, Clark heard two distinct voices speaking. One voice sounded like Lex Luthor; the other sounded familiar as well. Clark used his x-ray vision to see the other side to find that Lex was speaking to George Turner.

"What's the latest on Platt?" Lex asked.

"I haven't heard anything recently, I'm still waiting to see what my sources come up with. You have the bomb for the shuttle ready?" Turner said.

"You worry about your job, I'll worry about mine, 'Tempus.'"

"Just be careful, Luthor. The entire state of the future depends on this."

"I am *always* careful. Apparently, you don't know Lex Luthor very well. Now get back out there before someone wonders where we are."

Tempus exited, almost knocking into Clark, who was standing nearby. Clark almost spilled the drink in his hand on his shirt when he had flinched back.

Lex followed Tempus out, greeting guests with a smile.

Clark walked to over to Angela and waited patiently while she finished talking to someone before leading her to a quiet corner.

Clark leaned forward and whispered, "I think we need to go check out a Dr. Samuel Platt tomorrow."

"Who?" she asked, puzzled.

"A scientist from EPRAD. Heard some stuff about him when I passed through the Planet offices a few days ago; I just got a tip that he's got something to do with a possible sabotage of the shuttle on Friday," Clark answered.

"The colonist shuttle to Prometheus?"

"The same. I have a feeling there's more to this story than we know, and if we can find out what he was trying to say the other day…" Clark trailed off. "First thing tomorrow, we'll go find Platt, and talk to him."

"Great." Angela was also somewhat new to the world of reporting but was kind of skeptical about Clark's "sources."

As Clark and Angela planned to visit Samuel Platt, Lois slipped away unnoticed again and found herself in Lex's office. Lex came in this time, and for the rest of the night, he led her around with him, introducing her to friends and dancing with her. She soon forgot about investigating his house and became caught up in being with him. She stood by his side as everyone gathered around to watch Lex.

"Honored guests," Luthor announced to an enthralled audience. "We're here tonight for a good cause. Thanks to your generosity, Luthor House for Homeless Children will soon be a reality. As you know, I have dedicated my life to improving the quality of the lives of the citizens of Metropolis. Tonight I'd like to go further. It is my sad understanding that due in part to the terrible tragedy that befell the Messenger last week, the Congress of Nations intends to cancel Space Station Prometheus.

"I cannot stand by and allow that to happen to the citizens of this planet. Profit aside, potential benefits that a zero gravity laboratory could bring — most importantly, pharmaceuticals that could end crippling diseases here on Earth — must not be lost. Therefore, I have decided to commit my total financial support toward the building of a privately owned space laboratory. I have submitted my proposal to the Congress of Nations and I am awaiting their go-ahead. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you… Space Station Luthor."

Before Lex appeared a spectacle: a holographic image of the space station Luthor has planned. A blue glow reflected on everyone's faces as they stared at the hologram in awe.

The crowd cheered, and Clark spotted Tempus on the side sporting an evil grin. Angela turned to Clark with a "You may be right!" look, and he half-nodded, half-smiled in agreement.

"An engineering marvel," Lex said, continuing to build the space station up. "Signpost to a new age in exploration and scientific advancement. A gift to the future of mankind."

Angela, no longer doubting her partner, turned to Clark. "So what time do we go to Platt's?" After Luthor's presentation, the ball began to wind down. Clark and Angela left, as did Perry and Jimmy. Lois was one of the last guests to leave. It seemed to Lex that the ball had been a success, and the majority of attendees had had a good time and were excited about Lex's latest venture.


When Clark arrived for work at the Metropolis Star the next morning, Angela was waiting.

"You all ready to go meet Platt? I've got his address." Angela waved a small scrap of paper in Clark's face.

Clark was amazed by Angela's persistence. "I can't wait," he said. "Let's go." They hurried out and hailed a cab.

The cab stopped in an older section of town, and Angela got out as Clark paid the cabbie. "This is the one!" Angela said excitedly as she stood in front of Platt's door. They knocked.

"Mr. Platt?" Clark called. When no answer came, they knocked again. "Is anyone home? Mr. Platt?" he called out again.

"Just try the door," Angela told him.


"See if the door is unlocked."

"We can't just walk in," Clark protested.

"Sure we can." Angela walked around Clark and tried the door. It opened, and she peered inside. "Mr. Platt? Are you home?" She walked in further and turned around and waved Clark in. "This place is a mess."

"It looks like someone got here before we did." At the same time they saw someone sitting in a chair facing away from them. "Is that him?"

"I don't know," Angela answered, and walked to where they could see the man in the chair. She tried not to gasp and turned away from the sight. Clark walked over to the body to study it closer.

"I think he's dead." He paused, shocked. "He must've been electrocuted."

>From a nearby payphone, Angela and Clark called the police, who arrived quickly. Inspector Henderson, who was in charge, thanked Clark and Angela.

"We'll let you know if we find anything," Henderson told them.

Clark nodded, handed him a business card, and thanked him. With that, they stood up and went back to the Star.


Angela and Clark re-entered the sprawling Metropolis Star offices with the scoop.

"I'll go tell Bud," Angela said. "Wait here," she commanded, sticking a chair beneath Clark's behind.

"Why can't I go?" Clark asked.

"You don't know him that well yet. Trust me." Angela walked off and walked right into Bud's office, not caring that he was in a meeting with George Turner.

"Can I help you, Angela?" Bud asked, "You know, there is a door here."

"Bud, this is big!" Angela burst. "Real big! Remember that Platt guy Clark and I told you about earlier — the guy from EPRAD? He's been murdered… I think it could be a big story — "

"But do you have the facts to back it up?" Bud asked.

Turner chimed in. "I think she may be on to something," he said, folding his hands together in thought. "Angela, why don't you two investigate? You may be right… this could be big."

"Thanks, Mr. Turner!" Angela said. "I owe you one!" Bud, not wanting to argue with his boss, kept his mouth shut.

Turner turned to Bud. "I must go also… got a meeting upstairs…" Turner left and entered an elevator. At the top he was met by Nigel, who led him into an office Lex owned.

"They're on to us," Turner calmly told Lex, even though he was a bit worried about what would happen.

"Oh, this is great… see what your getting that Clark Kent involved at the Star did? Future Man, I thought you knew everything," Lex said, disgusted that he trusted someone who was an obvious failure.

"If I hadn't, Lois Lane would have gotten involved anyway!" Tempus pointed out, dropping the Turner facade. "Believe me, Luthor, their knowledge is actually a good thing… trust me…" He should have been worried, but he was oddly confident.

"Lex Luthor trusts no one," Lex told him menacingly. Tempus began to feel like Lex was pointing a sword at his heart, but he tried to ignore it.


The next morning, Lois Lane arrived at the Planet in a huff. She had seen the morning news; she knew what was going on. She put her things down and sat at her desk with a look on her face daring anyone to come near her.

Jimmy was used to seeing her this way. He knew the best thing to do in this kind of situation would be to drop the bomb and then run. Jimmy dropped a copy of the Metropolis Star on Lois's desk. He scurried away before Lois could say a word.

Lois glanced at the headline that screamed, "EPRAD scientist commits suicide." She couldn't believe it. Seeing the paper itself was the last straw in the reassurance of what happened.

"I've been scooped!" Lois screamed.

Lois walked into Perry's office with the paper in hand and threw it on his desk.

"Mmm-hmm," Perry said, giving the paper the once-over with an amused smile. "Yes, Lois?"

"Look at this!" Lois said, disgusted.

"'Man Found Dead, May Have Ties To Messenger Sabotage, by Angela Chen and Clark Kent,'" Perry read. "I heard."

"You're not sorry for me?"

"Sorry? More like shocked. How in the Sam Hill does my top reporter get scooped by two people I've barely heard of?!" Perry stood up, the anger apparent in his eyes, and started pacing. He ran a hand through his grey hair helplessly. "Do you realize that I could have hired this Kent guy? But, no, I turned him down! Now look at him, he's gotten a job at the Star and scooped Lois Lane, all in a matter of days! How do you explain that?" He sat down. Lois could tell he was upset.

Lois smiled, trying to lighten the mood. "Maybe he was in the right place at the right time."

"Great shades of Elvis! Lois, if you were working on this story like you should have been, you wouldn't have been scooped by some hack from Smallville!"

"I'm sorry, Perry. I was working on the story. I just got caught up in Lex Luthor." Lois sat down on the couch in Perry's office, not knowing what to say and upset she hadn't found Platt.

"Well, untangle yourself and remind me why you're such a good reporter."

"Sure, Perry." Lois walked out solemnly. "I can't believe I was scooped!" Lois repeated, getting angry again.

"Hey, Lois," Cat said as she fell in stride with Lois, who was walking quickly toward her desk, fuming with anger.

"Have you come to gloat?"

"About what? Did I miss something? Wait, wait, don't tell me. The date with Lex didn't go as planned. Or… wait a minute… You misunderstood him? I knew it! It *wasn't* a date!"

"No, Cat, it has nothing to do with Lex."

"Oh, what then?"

Lois thought about telling her but decided against it, "Nothing. I have to go." Lois headed for the elevator, hoping to find her own lead regarding Platt.


In a Lexcorp board room, Tempus and Lex finished their sabotage plans for the colonists' launch.

"Are you sure this will work?" Lex asked.

"Come on Lex, I'm a time-traveler. If it doesn't work, I'll just keep going back till it does. Duh, simple as that," Tempus said. "Have you contacted Dr. Baines?"

"Yes," Lex responded. "She will be along shortly so we can finalize our plan." Lex noticed that Tempus was holding a smoking object in his hand. Tempus raised his hand to his mouth and puffed on the cigar.

"What are you doing with that? Do you know how much trouble I went to get those, how rare…?" Lex said selfishly. He tried to grab the cigar from his mouth, but Tempus moved out of the way just in time.

"Come on, Luthor," said Tempus in the smirk that was starting to annoy Lex. "Quit being such a big baby. I'm a bad guy. I have to have a cigar. It's a trademark. Besides, you'll get all the cigars you want once you're the most powerful man in Metropolis — and once I avoid Utopia. Life is good," Tempus said, before taking another puff.


Back at the Daily Planet, Lois was at her own desk reading the police reports on Platt's death. She looked up and scanned the newsroom for Jimmy, but she didn't see him. Sighing, she went back to the reports.

"Lois, line three." She looked up again.

"Oh, thanks," she said, reaching for the phone. "Lois Lane."

"Good morning, Lois." As soon as she heard the voice on the other end, she sat up straight, as if Lex could see her.

"Hi, good morning… Lex."

"I was calling to see if you cared to watch the Prometheus shuttle launch with me."

She smiled, but then realized she might not be able to because of the Platt story. She answered with regret. "I'd love to, Lex, but, I really don't know if I can. It depends on…other things. I'll have to get back to you."

He paused then said, "Understood. If you can come, I'd be delighted to have you, so please, call me."

"I will."

"Goodbye, Lois."

"Bye." They hung up, and Lois was momentarily lost in thought. Her thoughts immediately went back to Platt.


He seemed to appear out of nowhere. "Right here, Lois," he said, smiling eagerly.

"I need you to call the police station. Try to talk to Inspector Henderson if you can, get any more information they have on Platt. See what they think happened or if there's been any new evidence, okay?"

"Will do."

"Great." She started packing up her things.

"Where are you off to?"

"I'm going to talk to Platt's family, see what they have to say."

Jimmy nodded. "Smooth. See you later."

Lois left the newsroom quickly and hailed a cab outside. Unbeknownst to Lois, a black limousine began to follow the cab, and then a silver Buick quickly maneuvered its way behind the limousine.

She told the driver the address, and it didn't take too long to get there. Neither she nor the cab driver noticed the car behind them.

When she arrived, she paid the driver, and walked to the front door and knocked. A red-haired, middle-aged woman answered.

"Can I help you?" she asked suspiciously.

"I'm Lois Lane, a reporter at the Daily Planet. I was wondering if I could talk to you."

"I'm sorry, Ms. Lane, I've been speaking to reporters all day. Can we talk later? There were already two reporters here earlier."

"Really?" Lois paused for a minute, feeling disappointed. "You don't happen to remember their names, do you?"

"Clark Kent and Angela Chen. Very nice people."

"I'll bet," Lois said, with a wayward grin. "Well, I'm sorry to have bothered you, Mrs. Platt."

"No problem, Ms. Lane."

Lois walked back to the street and headed for the main avenue to hail another cab. But before she could take another step, she felt a hand clamp over her mouth and another pair of arms grab her around the waist.

"Help!" she managed to yell a few times, hoping to get someone's attention. She struggled, but they didn't let go.

At the Metropolis Star, Clark looked up from his notes. He heard something, a familiar voice. He turned to Angela and mumbled, "I, uh, I'll be right back." He ran as fast as he could out of the newsroom, almost knocking someone over and spilling someone else's papers all over the floor. He turned around for a quick "sorry" both times but kept going.

"Where's he going?" Ron asked Angela.

She shrugged. "He said he would be right back."

When Clark came out of the building, he flew toward the cries for help. They were coming from a residential area, and he recognized the victim as Lois Lane. Picking up speed and turning his face, he managed to grab her from the two men who were restraining her.

He kept flying but he needed a soft spot to drop her in. Not too far away he spotted a community pool, and he slowed down so it would be safe enough to drop her. He did and flew off.

She fell into the sterile blue water and sputtered out the taste of chlorine from her mouth when she surfaced. She looked to whoever had saved her with a look like she would kill him if she ever saw him again. *Not that I really saw him this time,* she thought. Soaking wet, she climbed out of the pool and went to look for a cab.

Clark looked back, and couldn't help but laugh at the sight. He had saved her, but she had still been mad that he dropped her in the pool. He flew back to the Star, making vague excuses as to his whereabouts.


After lunch, Clark and Angela split up, both going to talk to a few different people about Platt, and Prometheus. Clark got back to the Star about 15 minutes later than they had planned, but Angela wasn't there.

After leaving the police station, and walking a few blocks, she was grabbed by three men, and put in the back of a van where she was blindfolded, and had her hands tied behind her back. She didn't know where she had been taken, or why, but she was left somewhere, she assumed with someone guarding her.

Tempus walked out of his office, and Clark went over to stop him before he left.

"Mr. Turner?" Clark called out.

He turned around, a little annoyed at being stopped. "Yes?"

"You haven't happened to see Angela around, have you?" Turner thought for a minute, then shrugged.

"No, I'm sorry, I haven't," he paused. "You two still working on the Platt story?"

Clark nodded, "Well, yes, actually, we split up this afternoon, and were supposed to meet back here half an hour ago. She hasn't come back."

"Well, I'm sure she'll turn up," he said as he turned to leave. Clark shook his head and proceeded went to ask a few other reporters if they'd seen her.

"Hey Clark," said Justin Redstone, the Star's staff computer whiz kid, as he passed by with some computer piece in his hand.

"Justin! Have you seen Angela?"

He seemed to think about this for a minute. "Not since you two left for lunch."

"Do you know if she called or anything?"

He shook his head, "Sorry, Clark." He kept walking. Dirk came up behind Clark.

"Angela's missing, huh?"

"I don't know, possibly. Have you seen her?"

"No, I haven't. If I do, I'll let you know."

"Great, thanks."


At the Planet, Lois was sitting in Perry's office with him and Jimmy.

"You said he flew? And, then, he saved you? And, he flew off?"

"Yes, Perry! Then he dropped me a pool!"

"But you didn't his face?"

"No, I didn't."

Jimmy still looked bewildered. "He was…flying?"

Lois nodded. "I know it sounds crazy! It's the truth, though." She stood up and started to pace. "I have to find out who he was."

"Uh-uh, Lois, you have the Platt story to work on! I don't want you writing anything in my paper about flying men who drop people in pools."

"You believe me, though, right? I mean, you don't think I'm crazy?"

"No, Lois, I don't think you're crazy, but we need more than just this before we go printing anything, and since we can't print anything, why don't you just work on the story you have?"

Jimmy looked up. "He really flew?" Perry and Lois ignored Jimmy.

"Okay, okay, I'll work on the Platt story." Lois turned to leave, but Perry stopped her.

"Lois, now, I'm serious," he warned. "You leave this other story alone, do you hear?"

"Loud and clear, Perry," she smiled and left.

"Man, wouldn't it be neat to fly?"

"Jimmy, would you knock it off?" Jimmy snapped out of it.

"Right, Chief." He followed Lois out.


A few hours later, Justin came back to see if Angela had returned.

"No, I've paged her, I've called her apartment, everything, I can't find her. I will, though, I'm going to look now," Clark answered as he got up.

"Well, good luck."

"Thanks, Justin."

Clark sneaked into an empty office at the Star. He pulled down the blinds, opened the window and flew out. He knew who might be able to help him find Angela.

Within minutes Clark had reached that place — his parents' home. He had a plan, but it would only work out if he found out what his parents thought. Clark explained his plan.

"Clark, it's too dangerous to be doing that!" Martha exclaimed as soon as he had finished.

"I know, Mom, but I can't ignore the calls for help, and I have to find Angela," Clark replied.

"Son, you can't live a normal life, and let people know what you can really do," Jonathan said. "I've told you what would happen,"

"I know," Clark said. He sighed. "'They'll disect me like a frog'…"

"You can't live two lives, Clark," Jonathan continued. Clark looked up immediately.

"That's it!" he said, the wheels turning in his head.

"What's it?" Martha asked.

"What if I had a secret identity? I mean, I could be Clark, and then… someone else, who wears some kind of costume, so people would think I was someone else."

"That's just silly, Clark. It'd never work."

"It could, Mom."

A few hours, and many costumes later, Clark emerged from the room in a blue suit, with a red cape and boots to match. "It's certainly… colorful," Clark said, looking down at the tightness of the costume.

"Well one thing's for sure. Nobody's going to look at your face!" Martha joked.

"Mom!" Clark said, blushing.

"They don't call them tights for nothing!"

He studied himself in the mirror, with his glasses on. "I still don't know. Something's missing…"

Martha studied it too. Then her eyes lit up. "I think you're right. Don't move." She went to the closet and pulled out an old suitcase.

"What's that?"

"Stuff that was in the ship with you when we found you." She pulled out an embroidered crest with an "S" in the center. She held it up. "Think this'll work?" She brought it over and held it up to his chest.

"Perfect," he said, smiling. After she sewed the "S" shield on the suit, he put it back and looked at it again. THe pulled his glasses off slowly. "So, what do you think?" Martha just smiled, and they went in to show Jonathan.

"Where's Clark?" he asked, laughing.

Martha and Clark shook their heads, smiling.

"How's it look, Dad?"

"I don't see how glasses are a great disguise, but if you think it'll work, I say go for it, son."

"Thanks, Dad." He took off into the sky to look for Angela.

Once Clark reached Metropolis, he cried a cry for help in an alley and stopped an elderly lady from being mugged. After that, he helped victims of a multi- car collision by flying them to nearby hospitals. Next, he saved a girl's cat from a tree, and then saved an apartment building from burning. Then he stopped a robbery that was taking place at a jewelry store which had closed for the day.

He couldn't believe all that was going on, all the people that needed his help. What was more surprising was the fact that no one recognized him. He didn't know what to call his alter-ego, so he didn't give a name.

Finally, he heard some muffled cries coming from an abandoned warehouse. He went inside and realized it was Angela. Suddenly he froze. He wasn't sure if she would recognize him. It didn't matter. Either way Angela needed his help. He walked to her and untied her hands, took the blindfold off, and ugagged her.

"Thanks," she said, standing up.

"Sure." She smiled up at him, and he thought she recognized him.

"So, what's with the suit? You some kind of superhero?" She laughed, and he smiled.

"Actually, I guess I kind of am."

She raised her eyebrow, "Is that so?" He nodded, "What's your name, Mr. Superhero?"

"Well, I…I guess I don't have one." She laughed.

"You've got to have a name. Well, what's the 'S' stand for? Super?"

Clark nodded, "Sure, but I really don't know what it stands for."

"Superman. I like it."

"Well, uh, I better go."

"Okay, thanks for saving me."

"Wwho kidnapped you?"

"I have no idea."

"How strange." Clark, or "Superman," as Angela had dubbed him, wondered about Angela's captors. He flew off to another cry for help, and continued to for the rest of the night.


Friday morning, Clark saw that "Superman" was the rage across town, with mentions in both the Star and the Planet. Clark had no idea of the impact he made as he was out saving people the night before.

There were pictures, taken with bystanders' cameras, of him helping others. He read the stories, which told of a "super man" with powers who helped people. It told of how he had saved Lois Lane, stopped the jewelry robbery, helped with the fire, and all of the other things he did. The main story in the Star was his rescue of Angela.


At the Daily Planet, Lois Lane had a plan of her own.

"Jimmy!" Lois called out from her desk.

"Yes?" he answered, walking over to her.

"I need you to help me find this…Superman. I want to get an exclusive. Plus, he saved me first!"

"Well, Lois, I thought you had to be in trouble for him to save you?"

"So, we'll go out and… create some trouble."

"Olsen!" Perry yelled from his office door.

"Yeah, Chief?"

"You get those pictures of Superman from outside? When he stopped the runaway car this morning?"

"They're in the lab, actually."

"Well, go get them. I want to see who this guy really is."

Jimmy laughed, "Well, he's Superman, Chief." He turned back to Lois, "Lois, it's going to — " He trailed off, noticing Lois was gone. He looked up and caught her waving as the elevator doors closed.


"What a day," Perry said to Lois while shaking his head, "Not only will tonight see the launch of the colonists' shuttle to the space station, it also has brought this strange sense of enthusiasm for a new hero in Metropolis. Hot damn, if only the King were alive to see this."


Lex Luthor waited in his office as Nigel escorted Tempus in. On Lex's desk were copies of the day's editions of the Metropolis Star and the Daily Planet.

"I thought you said this Superman would never happen?" Lex asked Tempus.

"Don't worry, I've got it covered. It's all a part of the plan," Tempus assured. "Remember how I told you Superman is going to stop the bomb on the colonists' shuttle?" Tempus asked.


"Well he can't stop it if there's two. Hahaha, this is going to be great… and best of all, we don't even have to take the blame!"

A woman entered the room. She was blond and attractive, but had a professional air about her.

"Dr. Baines, what may I do for you?" Lex asked, hoping she didn't hear the conversation.

"It's through, Luthor," Baines said. "I know you want to stop the space station from going up. You paid me royally to see to it that it doesn't. That's how we stopped the Messenger. But nowhere did you tell me that hundreds of people would die in your tracks. This is wrong, Luthor!"

Tempus turned to Lex. "Should I, or do you want to do the honors?"

"No," Lex said. "This is my score to settle, my nosy 'employee.'" Lex reached into his desk drawer and pulled out a gun. He calmly fired at Dr. Baines. She died instantly. "Good night, Antoinette. Sweet dreams," Lex said, blowing the smoke from the gun. Tempus watched with an amused grin. Bloodshed was something he truly enjoyed.

Lex reached for his phone and spoke. "Nigel? Come upstairs… we made a little mess that needs to be cleaned up."


Several hours pass and the colonist shuttle is about to go up. The Daily Planet is a frenzy, with everyone in excitement and getting ready to cover the big event of the launch.

"Uh.. Lois?" Lois heard from behind her. It sounded like Perry had bad news.

"I regret to inform you that despite what we had been told by EPRAD several weeks ago, the space program has decided not to let any reporters on the shuttle," Perry said. "I'm sorry."

"But, Chief, imagine the Daily Planet getting an *exclusive* personal account of being on the colonist transport. Can't you pull *some* strings?" Lois begged.

"No can do, Lois," Perry said.

Lois's mind began racing. "Oh, well. Some other time, maybe," she said.


An hour later, things were equally exciting at the Metropolis Star offices. Angela, Clark, Ron, Dirk, Justin, Bud and the rest watched the TV screens as the world prepared for the launch.

"The view is so much better from here," Justin said, causing the others to groan. They watched intently as the colonists boarded the shuttle. They saw Platt's widow and daughter. Clark noticed someone else who looked familiar. He also saw… Lois?!


Apparently, Clark was not the only one who spotted Lois. Lex and Tempus were watching when Lex had a fit.

"Oh my God, so *that's* what she was doing! I have to get her off of there!" Lex exclaimed, walking toward the phone.

Tempus stepped in front of him, blocking Lex from the telephone. "Uh-uh-uh," Tempus said. "That's not part of the plan."

"So you want her to die?" Luthor asked.

"Well… yes," Tempus said, "Then she'll be out of our hair forever."

Lex wouldn't admit it but he had developed feelings for Lois. Lex pulled out his gun again. "How would you like it if I used *this* to get you out of my way?"

"Temper, temper," Tempus warned. "Remember I have this." He opened up a time window behind Lex. "One false move and 'boink.' You're gone."

Lex conceded. "Let me make you a deal… you stay away from Lois and I will *assure* that she stays away from Clark. Besides, your plan will work, you claim, so what do you care if she lives or dies? She will most likely hate Superman regardless… and if things continue she will never develop love for Clark. Especially if she's with me."

Lex's convincing worked. "Fine," Tempus said. "Call." Lex got on the line with Nigel, who phoned the shuttle security, who promptly dragged Lois off of the ship, kicking and screaming. Nigel posted bail so Lois wouldn't sit in jail. By that time the shuttle was only seconds from launching.


At the Metropolis Star, all televisions were set to LexTel to watch the Prometheus shuttle launch. Everyone crowded around, trying to get a good view. Fifteen seconds to launch. A phone rang in the background.

"Kent? Phone's for you," Justin said, handing it to him.

"Thanks," Clark mumbled as he walked away from the TVs. "Hello?"

"Mr. Kent? There's a bomb on the shuttle!" said a man with a slight Indian accent. Clark paused for a few seconds. The man on the other side of the line was Asabi, but Clark had no way of knowing that.

"Where is it located on the shuttle?" He listened carefully and nodded every so often, trying to memorize the exact location. "Thank you," he said as he hung up and started out of the newsroom.

"Clark, aren't you watching the launch? Where are you going?"

"I'll be right back." He ran out of the newsroom, and once out of plain sight, he changed into Superman and flew toward the launch.

As he got within view of the shuttle, the onlookers had spotted him and started clapping and cheering, yelling out his name. They all wondered why he was there. Figuring he must be saving someone, or something, their fears quickly vanished.

He boarded the shuttle as the doors were closing, and he hurried over to the location of the bomb. He heard it ticking and noticed it only had 15 seconds before it would blow up. He pulled off the module and saw the C-4 explosive was the size of an Oreo. Nine seconds left.

He tries to break the bomb with his bare hand. No luck. Five seconds left.

Unsure of what to do, but knowing he better do something quick, he put the bomb in his mouth as it exploded. Clark was relieved. Disaster had been averted. Suddenly, Clark heard another loud noise and before he knew it he was surrounded by flames.

The light from the fire was the brightest Clark had ever seen. He looked down at himself and saw that he was covered in ash, and that his cape had just about burned away. He flew off, not knowing what happened or why.

The spectators at the launching pad died in the blast. Everyone on the shuttle died in the explosion except Superman. The people watching on television knew only that Superman had just made it onto the shuttle, and not a minute later it had been demolished.

On-screen, it appeared that Superman had killed everyone by placing a bomb on Prometheus.


Confused, Clark made a quick sweep home for some clean clothes. While there he stuck his costume into the hotel's quarter-operated washing machine, hoping it would be cleaned, and showed up back at the Star. He was very depressed, but no one knew why. Everyone else was in shock.

Angela walked up to him. "Clark, are you okay?"

"Yeah. I heard what happened… it's terrible…" Clark mumbled.

"Yeah, well, Lex Luthor's supposed to have a press conference about the disaster in an hour. The conference will be at Lexcorp. Superman's supposed to be there too, to explain what he had to do with it. Wanna come?" Angela asked.

"I… I'm not feeling too well… maybe you should go without me," Clark said, slumping.


At the Daily Planet, Perry White was running around like a lunatic. "Great shades of Elvis! If Lois did something lame-brained like sneaking onto that ship I'll — " Perry ranted, before hearing the phone ring.

Jimmy got it. "It's for you, Chief," Jimmy said, holding out the phone.

"Hello? Thank goodness you're alive! I thought you might… oh, you did… oh, they did… oh, he did!… we'll be there!" Perry said, before putting down the phone.

"C'mon Jimmy, we're goin' to Lexcorp," Perry said, turning to the young photographer. "And Lois is promisin' the scoop."



"People of the press, citizens of Metropolis, friends," Lex Luthor announced from a podium in front of the Lexcorp building. "We are gathered here after a great tragedy has befallen us. Be assured that Space Station Luthor *will* indeed become a reality. The seeds planted by the late colonists will be picked up and the space program will live.

"We also gather to question the motives of this 'Superman' that appeared at the scene. Did he sabotage the shuttle — to keep us away from finding his home planet, perhaps?" Lex asked the public.

"No," Superman said, hovering by a window. His costume was a bit tattered but not as dirty as it was right after the bomb. He landed on the stage next to Luthor. "I came because I heard that there was a bomb — "

"Yes, Superman," Lex broke in. "So why didn't you stop it?"

"I tried," Superman said.

"Well then, trying and doing are two different things. Do you realize two hundred people died today?" Lex asked.

The crowd started booing and throwing things and screaming at Superman. "My God, you killed Kenny!" "My mom and sister were on there!" "Alien!" The comments were too much. Superman held up a hand to try to speak, but to no avail.

"Explain, Superman…" Lex taunted. "Who are you, anyway, and why should you be trusted?"

Clark was unable to answer. Frustrated, he turned around and flew back to Smallville.


Martha brought another cup of coffee to the table for Clark. He looked up at her.

"Thanks, Mom." She lightly patted him on the back and sat down next to Jonathan. "I just — I don't know what to do. I try to give them what they want, but when I can't do enough… I just couldn't explain to them…"

"Son, you'll never be able to be everywhere at once," Jonathan said, trying to console his son. "Sometimes you'll have to sacrifice one thing to help another. You can't do everything. No one can. The people don't know what happened; they only know what they think they saw."

"I know, Dad. I just wish I knew about the other bomb."

"Clark, you did your best. That's all anyone can ask of you. Past that, you can't do anything more."

"Maybe the secret identity was a stupid idea. Maybe I should give up being Superman."

"Clark, don't let this stop you," Jonathan said, "You could always give it another shot. People will always need you, son, whether they act appreciative of that help or not."

"It's up to you, Clark. You do what you feel is right. Follow your heart. Whatever you choose, we'll support you one-hundred percent, and we believe in you. You know what's right. It's up to you to decide what you want to do."

"Thanks." Martha and Jonathan left Clark alone in the kitchen for awhile, and eventually he went outside to think.

When he came back inside, Martha and Jonathan were in the kitchen, and Clark had a unreadable look on his face.

He sighed as he looked at both of his parents. He took a deep breath and said, "I'm going back to Metropolis, and I'm going to continue being Superman and helping people. Maybe eventually they'll come to see that I didn't mean to harm anyone. I only made the mistake of not looking for a second bomb, but I don't know… I also can't help but getting this feeling…"

"That Luthor set you up?" Jonathan finished.

"Yeah. I heard something at the Wild Orchid Ball. It makes me wonder."

"Maybe you should talk to this Luthor and find out for yourself," Jonathan suggested.

"Maybe," Clark said.

Martha and Jonathan smiled and hugged their son. He left that night, knwoing he had made the right decision.


It was soon late at night in Metropolis, and Clark was determined to find out what really happened with the bomb. He flew up to Lex Luthor's balcony to find Luthor in his study. Clark walked in to confront Luthor.

"Well, well, Superman… to what do we owe this honor?" Lex said.

"You set me up, Luthor," Superman accused.

"A very interesting theory, Superman. But that's all it is. Even if you didn't sabotage the shuttle, we can't have strange visitors from another planet flying all over the place, now can we? And who's to say you *didn't* sabotage it? I see no proof."

"Luthor, you're wrong. That is not what I'm about."

"We'll see about that."

"This isn't over, Luthor."

"Well then, as they say, let the games begin."

Luthor puffed on his cigar, and Superman flew off.




Lex just won… so how are we going to get around this one? Flash forward 5 years to a very different present-day Lois & Clark, and find out if a world can survive with Lex Luthor and Tempus at the helm! It all happens in "Past And Present Danger," written by Craig Byrne and Allison Word.



Afterword by co-writer Craig Byrne

Well, we here at TUFS were stuck with a conundrum. It would be fun to do a crossover between the two best villains of "L&C," but it would be somewhat difficult considering Lex Luthor is under piles of rubble in some abandoned subway someplace. It would also be difficult since Lex Luthor, the last time we had seen him, was a far different character from the evil, conniving SOB he was when we met him during the first season.

A Tempus/Lex crossover, however, would be inevitable; and if with TUFS we're trying to give the fans all they should have gotten in a fifth season, it was a necessity. Allison Word and I began talking about ideas of teaming the two last July. Early ideas had Tempus traveling back in time and pulling Lex out of the subway, saving him. But what if — Tempus could go back even FARTHER?

I admit, I'm a first season junkie. Feisty Lois, Cat Grant, evil Luthor, Elvis-talking Perry and the Michael Landes Jimmy all add up to a good episode for me. It would be fun to see those folks again. And now… we can. I'm also a Tempus addict so a combination of the two would be bliss for me.

The name "The Odd Couple" came simply because Tempus and Lex really are the "Odd Couple" of L&C. Like Felix Unger, Tempus is meticulous yet over the top at times, whereas Lex is more reserved, to the point that Tempus might call him "grouchy" as Oscar Madison had been.

I hope you had as much fun reading this as we had putting it together. And in the "credit where credit is due" department: Special thanks to Deborah Joy LeVine, who wrote the Lois & Clark "Pilot" to which this is based. Also thanks to Julie Mack, Matt Combes, Russ Dimino, Karen Vigeland, and Linda Rahilly for all looking at and/or editing this story, and mucho thanks especially to Kat Picson for going through this story with a fine-toothed comb! (Kat, you rule!) And finally, thanks to Matt Combes for the great poster on the website. <http://members.aol.com/thenando/tufs.htm>

I'd like to dedicate this story (my part of it at least) to my father, Clyde Byrne, who passed away of cancer in May, and also to Denver Pyle, the actor who played "Uncle Jesse" on my OTHER favorite TV series, "The Dukes of Hazzard," who died on Christmas Day this year.